A research study assistant primarily supports the research team. While every discipline has research study assistants, phlebotomists utilize their skills in scientific and experimental research.
In phlebotomy, most research study assistants work at laboratories and hospitals. Research assistants are hired by medical research centers, college and university research labs, and healthcare and pharmaceutical firms.
At the beginning of an experiment, researchers must complete a literature review. A literature review allows the research team to understand the current state of research – what has been done before? What needs to be investigated? Is there disagreement or a consensus about the research topic of interest? Research study assistants assist the principal investigator by researching previous studies and experimental procedures.
Research assistants collect and log data in experimental studies by following the primary researcher’s established method and procedures. Additionally, they may assist in blood draws and prepare specimens for lab testing. They also keep records of participants and data on a research database and determine whether the data set is significantly significant by conducting statistical analyses. Research study assistants also convert research findings into graphs and tables and help the research team disseminate the results in posters, presentations, and reports. Research assistants also abide by all ethical guidelines, as determined by their Institutional Review Board (IRB) and research facilities, such as informed consent, privacy, and confidentiality.
Research study assistants may also assist in support tasks, such as cleaning, taking inventory, and ensuring the lab equipment’s quality. They may also prepare materials for the primary researchers by setting up the lab equipment and preparing the participant charts and data. Research assistants play a significant role in the study’s recruitment process. They schedule study participants to come in for trials and confirm study participant eligibility, as determined by the principal investigator’s selection criteria.
For scientific research, research assistants must exhibit competencies in technical and analytical skills. They must have a basic knowledge of the scientific method, study designs, and experimental research ethics. A research study assistant should also have experience in phlebotomy, experimental research, and data entry and collection. Research study assistants should have a background in conducting literature reviews, writing detailed reports, and analyzing data sets.
When conducting experiments, research assistants possess close attention to detail to follow the methods precisely. If they do not correctly implement the procedure, they are risking the integrity of the study. Even a minor mistake can falsify the results, meaning that the study findings are inaccurate and are not replicable. To prevent these risks, research study assistants to be objective in the lab and when meeting with study participants for credible and accurate data collection.
Research assistants are also skilled communicators, as they work closely with their team and primary researcher. They are effective in time management and regularly meeting project deadlines.
Education requirements vary by employer. While some companies expect applicants to have a Bachelor’s degree, many positions are available to people with a high school diploma or GED and 1-2 years of experience or an Associate’s degree. Going to an accredited phlebotomy school for your Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT I) license is critical for phlebotomists who want to become research assistants. Possessing a CPT I demonstrates that you have advanced knowledge of phlebotomy and relevant experience, both of which are strongly preferred for research assistants.
The median annual salary of research study assistants is $47,000. Compensation can vary by location, employer, education, and experience and ranges between $27,000 to $78,000. Full-time research assistants receive benefits as well, such as healthcare insurance, paid time off, and a 401(k) plan.
Many research study assistants become primary investigators and pursue their research, increasing their salary.
Research positions can be full-time or part-time, depending on your education level and employer. Several undergraduate students work in university research labs part-time, often for a few semesters. However, full-time research assistants typically work at labs for medical and pharmaceutical research. Research assistant shifts are Monday through Friday. For some companies and labs, occasional weekend shifts may be required to meet project deadlines.
PhlebotomyU offers a course for aspiring research study assistants to receive their CPT I and NCCT phlebotomy technician licenses. In our experiential learning curriculum, we host an externship program to allow our students the opportunity to work with local hospitals and labs to gain valuable experience. To learn more about PhlebotomyU, contact us today.